The GST Council on Saturday recommended measures to ease compliances for GST assessees, beside giving relief to working professionals and students living in accommodations outside the educational institutions. However, the issue of giving relief to online gaming companies, casinos and horse racing was not part of the agenda for Saturday’s meeting.

The Council recommended waiving interest and penalties for demand notices issued under Section 73 of the CGST Act (i.e. the cases not involving fraud, suppression or wilful misstatement, etc) for the fiscal years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. “The condition here is that the full tax demanded is paid up to March 31, 2025,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said giving details of the recommendations of the Council.

In order to reduce government litigations, the Council recommended fixing a monetary limit for filing appeals by the tax department before the various appellate authorities. It will be ₹20 lakh for GST Appellate Tribunal, ₹1 crore for the High Court and ₹2 crore for the Supreme Court for filing of appeals by the department. “The Tax Authority would generally not go for an appeal if the monetary limit is less than the prescribed by the GST Council,” Revenue Secretary Sanjay Malhotra clarified. However, the assessees are free to appeal.

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The Council recommended reducing the amount of pre-deposit for filing of appeals under GST to ease cash flow and working capital blockage for the taxpayers. The maximum amount for filing appeal with the appellate authority has been reduced to ₹40 crore from ₹50 crore. In case of Appellate Tribunal, the amount would be a maximum of ₹40 crore against ₹100 crore.

The Council recommended providing a new optional facility by way of Form GSTR-1A to facilitate the taxpayers to amend the details in Form GSTR-1 for a tax period and/ or to declare additional details, if any, before filing of return in Form GSTR-3B for the said tax period. 

Biometric authentication

The Council recommended to roll-out the biometric-based Aadhaar authentication of registration applicants on pan-India basis in a phased manner. “This will strengthen the registration process in GST and will help in combating fraudulent input tax credit (ITC) claims made through fake invoices,” Sitharaman said. However, when asked about review and relief to online gaming companies, casinos and horse racing, she said that the matter was not taken up as it was not included in the agenda.

Rates rationalisation

In order to give some relief to students, Sitharaman said that charges for student accommodations located outside the educational institutions will not attract GST subject to certain conditions. “The value should be up to ₹20,000 per person per month. Also, the accommodation service is supplied for a minimum continuous period of 90 days.” Same will be applicable for working professional livings in a rented accommodations such as working hostel or hotel etc

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The Council also recommended to exempt the services provided by Indian Railways to general public, namely, sale of platform tickets, facility of retiring rooms/waiting rooms, cloak room services and battery-operated car services and to also exempt the Intra-Railway transactions. “These services were earlier exempted but brought under GST so that ITC can be availed. Now the old status has been restored,” Malhotra said.